College to host religious scholar Nov. 3

The College's Catholic Studies program will host a prolific author and religious scholar Thursday, Nov. 3.

The Catholic Studies Fall Lecture, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3 in the Mitchell Auditorium on campus, will feature speaker Carol Zaleski. Titled "On a Dark Night: The Faith and Doubt of Saint Teresa of Calcutta and Saint Thérèse of Lisieux," her presentation is free and open to the public.

According to Kevin Vaughan, director of the Braegelman Program in Catholic Studies, the talk will explore a quote from Mother Teresa, now known as Saint Teresa of Calcutta: "If I ever become a saint - I will surely be one of ‘darkness.' I will continually be absent from Heaven - to light the light of those in darkness on earth." These words sum up the decades-long trial of faith that marked Saint Teresa's inner life, from the early years of the Missionaries of Charity until her death in 1997.

A similar trial, Vaughan said, was endured by her namesake, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. Drawing upon the Spiritual Letters of Dom John Chapman, O.S.B., a wise Benedictine who was one of the great modern interpreters of the "dark night" experience, Zaleski's talk will consider what the two Teresas have to offer for a deeper understanding of faith and doubt in the present age.

Zaleski earned her B.A. from Wesleyan University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in the study of religion from Harvard University. She has been teaching philosophy of religion, world religions and Christian thought at Smith College in Northampton, MA since 1989 and was appointed to the position of chair in world religions in July 2006.

Zaleski is the author of "Otherworld Journeys: Accounts of Near-Death Experience in Medieval and Modern Times" and "The Life of the World to Come."

For more information, contact Vaughan at